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Expect New Faces at This Year's Idol Gives Back

The Jonas Brothers by Eugene Gologursky/ WireImage.com

Ryan Seacrest is hosting the second edition of the Emmy Award-winning Idol Gives Back special on Wednesday, April 9, at 7:30pm/ET on Fox. Some new faces have been added to the roster of performers and personalities scheduled to appear, including presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John McCain. It will be very interesting to see who will truly be "giving back," and who will be stumping for votes. Rounding out the ever-expanding list of political figures and celebs are British prime minister Gordon Brown, Posh and Becks (Victoria and David Beckham), the Jonas Brothers (can you hear the screaming teenagers now?), Felicity Huffman, Kylie Minogue, Kyra Sedgwick, Minnie Driver, Sarah "Im F--king Matt Damon" Silverman, and many more.Are you planning to watch Idol Gives Back, or maybe even donating to the cause? Who are you most excited to see on the special? — Erin FoxWatch clips of American Idol with our Online Video Guide. read more

What Makes Presidential Debates So Great?

John Kerry and George Bush courtesy NBC

Who ever thought the presidential primary debates would be one of the biggest TV attractions of the year? Cable news channels have reaped record ratings and even the broadcast networks have been vying for the events because of viewer interest. It should only grow more intense when the two nominees meet in the fall. The debates are already scheduled for Sept. 26, Oct. 7 and Oct. 15. But getting the candidates to participate has never been easy according to a new book Inside the Presidential Debates ( shop Amazon.com) by Craig L. Lamay and Newton N. Minow, a former FCC commissioner and vice chairman of the Commission on Presidential Debates, which has organized the face-offs in every election year since 1976. The Biz talked to the authors about what makes the debates so great.
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Meet John McCain's (Boston) Legal Eagle

John McCain, Anne Turk and Craig Turk courtesy Craig Turk

When it comes to showbiz connections in the 2008 presidential campaign, Sen. Barack Obama has Oprah Winfrey, Gov. Mike Huckabee has Chuck Norris, and Sen. John McCain has... Craig Turk?It's a name familiar only to viewers who've studied the credits of Law & Order, Cold Case and Boston Legal, where Turk has written episodes. But he's also had key behind-the-scenes roles in McCain's presidential bids.Back in 1999, Turk was a Harvard-trained lawyer working in Washington, D.C., specializing in election law and government ethics when McCain's campaign manager, Rick Davis, approached him about doing legal work for the candidate. Turk was hired as general counsel for the 2000 campaign and began riding McCain's Straight Talk Express bus.The experience got Turk deeper into politics. He went to Montenegro to work on a sovereignty referendum for the European nation and consulted for developing political parties in Asia and Eastern Europe. "I loved the travel and the sense that I was making... read more

“Yes We Can” Spoof

There have been a slew of parodies of Obama’s “Yes We Can” music video by Will.i.am. But we have to say this one is exceptionally well done. The entire video digs at McCain’s platform, including his well known “Bomb, Bomb Iran” joke. The execution is hilarious, especially with all those confused faces looking bewildered by the lyrics they’re singing (and the man hyperventilating into a brown paper bag is classic). read more

John Mellencamp to McCain: Hey, That's My Country!

John Mellencamp by Michael Hickey/WireImage.com

John Mellencamp has asked presidential wannabe John McCain to cease playing "Our Country" and other songs of his, primarily because the senator's agenda doesn't jive with the singer's. "Are you sure you want to use [John's] music?" a letter from Mellencamp's peeps to McCain reads. "Logic says that the facts might prove to be an embarrassment" — namely that Mellencamp had in fact been backing John Edwards. read more

This Ain’t Your Grandma’s Election

24 states, 1 nation—It’s gonna be mayhem out at the voting booths today! That’s right; Super Tuesday is upon us and it’s time for the gloves to come off. But imagine if the election was decided with some healthy gladiator-style competition… perhaps some jousting? Let this hard-core mash-up featuring the frontrunners (alongside the Hulkster) be our unique way of reminding you not to forget to vote today! Watch it now! | More online videosYour take: If push came to shove, which candidate looks like they would be the fiercest Gladiator of them all? read more

Presidential Candidates Sing Some Bowie

Quick…what’s the one most overused word in any presidential candidate’s vocabulary? If you said “changes,” give yourself a pat on the back. In light of this favorite buzzword, we stumbled upon this video of all your beloved candidates giving their schpeels while set to a little tune you may recognize by David Bowie. Ladies and gentlemen, we present you with the presidential candidate’s rendition of “Changes.” read more

Could the Conventions Be This Summer's Reality Hit?

Hillary Clinton courtesy CBS

Who knew that the 2008 race for the White House would become a hot network prime-time show? NBC is likely to join CBS and ABC in expanding the number of hours they devote to covering Super Tuesday on Feb. 5, the day when 24 states will have primaries or caucuses to help choose a party ominee. "Everyone has been surprised at the public's level of interest," one network news exec tells The Biz. "But if there wasn't a writers' strike, would we be having this conversation?"Maybe not. It probably wasn't a tough choice for CBS to pull a repeat episode of The Unit to give Katie Couric an extra hour to cover what will be a fairly complex story, as the distribution of delegates based on the voting results can vary by state.But if the 2008 race continues to be a battle royale between Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton on the Democratic side, and Sen. John McCain is still fighting it out with Mitt Romney in the GOP race, the broadcast networks may find themselves closer to reversing an... read more

What I'm Watching: Presidential Candidate Edition

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton by Jemal Countess/WireImage.com

Apparently our presidential candidates have enough free time to be watching TV!? In any case, here's a list of our candidates' favorite shows.1) Hillary ClintonFavorite TV shows: HGTV makeover shows, Grey's Anatomy, Antiques Roadshow, American Idol and Dancing with the Stars Favorite TV show of all time: The Ed Sullivan Show2) John EdwardsFavorite TV shows: Boston Legal, SportsCenterGuilty pleasure: "Fred Thompson on Law & Order"Favorite TV show of all time: Perry Mason Favorite TV character of all time: Sam Malone from Cheers Where do you watch TV when you're on the campaign trail? "I mostly watch football and basketball games in hotel rooms in Manchester, New Hampshire, and Des Moines, Iowa."3) Dennis Kucinich Favorite TV shows: The Tonight Show, Late Show, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Saturday Night Live. "When I get a chance to watch TV, it's usually late in the evening.... Those shows have brilliantwriters. It's just great to watch them." And you don't mind being the... read more

30 Rock: The Height of Hilarity

Edie Falco and Alec Baldwin in 30 Rock by Nicole Rivelli/NBC Photo

Every week, after laughing myself silly at the warped lunacy of 30 Rock on Thursday nights and then being greeted by the stubbornly low ratings on Friday morning, I’m more than ever convinced that this inspired comedy is the new Arrested Development. (And not just because it’s a dark-horse Emmy winner, also taking home the best-comedy trophy after its first season.) Here’s another cult classic that is apparently too off-kilter to be more than an acquired taste, unfortunately destined to fly under the radar.This view isn’t coming from a comedy snob. I get a kick out of most of CBS’ more mainstream Monday comedies, including the new Big Bang Theory, which gets funnier and more confident by the week. On Thursdays I’m still delighted by 30 Rock’s time-period rival, the sweetly campy Ugly Betty. But 30 Rock strikes me as something special, something to treasure, firing on all burners with a wild and hilariously absurdist sensibility.This week’s epi... read more

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